Tech firms team up to help SMEs on the data management ‘tipping point’

Two tech firms are joining forces on a ‘must-have’ data automation solution for business clients outgrowing manual systems or standalone software.

Portsmouth-based Transalis and Signum Solutions, headquartered in Warrington, are partnering to help small and mid-size supply chain companies in sectors such as manufacturing, chemicals, food service and wholesale distribution.

Typical clients will have crossed a ‘tipping point’ on the need for automated business data processing.

They may be an organic food retailer seeking to demonstrate end-to-end traceability of global supply so that increasingly savvy customers are reassured over safety and integrity.

They could be a manufacturer keen to avoid the nightmare of a product recall or a company in a regulated industry tasked with a ‘needle in a haystack’ Big Data search request.

A fast-moving consumer brand or a busy wholesaler may also require more automation to ensure the real-time cash position and sales figures are at their fingertips.

The tie-up between Transalis and Signum Solutions is intended to play to the respective market strengths of both providers.

Signum is an award-winning SAP Gold Partner offering SAP Business One management software for enterprise resource planning.

The company was the first in the UK to receive ‘recognised expertise’ status in SAP Business One.

Under the new reseller agreement, Signum will combine its SAP specialism with the added benefit of the cloud-based Transalis platform for automated supply chain management.

Signum Solutions Managing Director Lindsay Pointon said: “This is an ideal combination that will give our clients a proven, fully integrated and hosted solution.

“Automated data management is a must-have for growing companies for all kinds of activities including stock control, supply and distribution management, and production scheduling.”

Roy Garlick, Transalis Global Channel Manager, said: “More and more customers are migrating up to SAP Business One having arrived at a tipping point in their data management needs.

“At the same time, many are keen to review and improve their supply chain management capabilities.

“We’re confident our new partnership with Signum Solutions will directly address this scenario.

“It will help many small and mid-size businesses to streamline their business management activities so they can scale up to compete on a more level playing field with larger competitors.”

In an international award based on customer feedback, Signum Solutions was named the SAP Business One partner with ‘Best Performance for Customer Satisfaction’ at a recent SAP partner summit in Barcelona.

The company also won a CompuTec Partner Excellence Award in 2017 recognising exceptional customer satisfaction.

The Transalis platform helps users share data, integrate it with internal systems and automate a host of manual processes.

Transalis was the first UK partner to achieve a procurement-to-payment accreditation for EDI (electronic data interchange) from global standards body GS1.

About Transalis

Transalis helps clients drive business growth by connecting supply chains digitally. The UK-based company’s global platform enables businesses to trade with anyone, anywhere using cloud-managed services. Transalis services a community of more than 10,000 users in sectors such as retail, manufacturing, distribution, logistics, health and beauty, and FMCG. Clients include leading brands such as Argos, Pret a Manger, The Hut Group and AS Watson, owners of Superdrug. For more information, visit www.transalis.com.

Signum Solutions specialises exclusively in SAP Business One for small and midsized businesses. The company is a fully certified SAP Business One Partner and has clients in a range of sectors including food supply and service, chemicals and coatings, wholesale and manufacturing.

Media enquiries on this news release to:

Diane Harvey at Signum Solutions on 01244 676900 or diane.harvey@signum-solutions.co.uk

ERP Software for SME’s

Choosing the right software for your business can be a daunting decision for you as a business owner, choosing a software that is easily customisable and tailormade to meet your exact business requirements is key.

So what is ERP software ?

Enterprise Resource Planning software otherwise known as ERP software is a software which collaborates all aspects of a business into one place.  The information which the ERP software collates is made easily available for you to see.

Using ERP software will connect different departments within a business in real-time which in turn increases efficiency within different departments and helps to make key decisions within the business.

ERP software is ideal for small to medium sized enterprises here are a few of the benefits below:

 

Customisable – ERP software is can be fully tailored to suit your business, and can be used for the following:

Pre sales CRM / Marketing

Post sales CRM

Inventory (SCM)

Financial accounting

Production, planning & Control

Project management

Technical expertise

Task management

Human resources & Payroll

Continuous Improvement

Growth Your ERP software will grow as your business does, it is easy to add new functions into your software which will save you and your staff time making everyday operations more streamlined and in turn this will increase your ongoing profits.

To understand how your business can benefit from implementing an ERP solutions, contact us here 

ERP Software For Food

ERP Software Designed For Food & Beverage

Fruit juice in glasses with Kiwi fruit

ERP software by Signum Solutions, Our food recipe solution is designed to meet the requirements of any business however SME’s in particular find our cloud based software very useful streamlining their business therefore increasing profits.

ERP software is designed for food manufacturers and distributors in particular, our solution will improve food safety, improve traceability, reduce waste and overall streamline productivity whilst managing business growth.

Signum Solutions ERP solution for food will connect all departments within your business into an easy to manage cloud ERP. From the minute that ingredients & materials enter your business premises to the moment the complete products leave them.

Our software will move all of your data and workflows from multiple, independent platforms into a single cloud ERP, you ensure superior data integrity, production management and manufacturing processes, quality control, safety, sales, delivery, finance and forecasting.

Reliable access 24 hours a day all year round

Get access to all aspects of your business 24 hours a day, all year round with Signum Solutions solution for food.

For more information on our ERP software for food contact one of the team today on 01244 676 900 or get in touch here 

 

 

 

How to nip the growing problem of organic food fraud in the bud

Business management software for food

When consumers pay a premium for certified organic produce and packaged foods, they should feel confident that they’re getting what they pay for: a product free from synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, antibiotics, growth regulators and genetically-modified organisms. There is also an underlying ethical assumption that those revenues are going to farmers engaged in sustainable agricultural practices that promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity.

Products sold as organic must, by law, follow certain standards – both European and national – and have to be regularly inspected and certified by approved bodies. At a global level, many countries have regulatory requirements similar to those in the EU and there are formal agreements covering trade in organic products between these countries

However, because organic and eco-labelled food products command a higher price, instances of food fraud, such as adulteration and mislabelling, are becoming more commonplace, resulting in consumers being misled and overcharged. What’s more, failure to enforce standards can cast a shadow over the term ‘organic’ itself, which should be synonymous with authenticity.

Staying competitive and relevant
The problem is amplified with imported products that involve intermediaries, some of whom are looking to make economic gains by deliberately mislabelling foods as organic and selling them at a premium. One example is the 2016/2017 shipment of over 16 metric tonnes of soybeans that found their way to California from Ukraine via Turkey.

What started out as conventionally-farmed, pesticide-treated soybeans under-went a remarkable transformation to ‘organic’, which saw the consignment’s value increase by US$4 million. This wasn’t a one off: two further shipments of corn and soybeans revealed similar findings. And because these imports were largely destined for animal feed, they would be likely to infiltrate the supply chain through a variety of foods including ‘organic’ eggs, dairy, meat and poultry.

Meanwhile, brands are finding themselves at risk. While consumers increasingly scrutinise labels for farm-to-fork provenance, not all retailers can verify organic products back to the point of origin due to a lack of upstream supply chain visibility.
While tier 1 and some of tier 2 suppliers may be known, the view of tier 3 and beyond is often obscured. Tackling the root of the problem

In April 2017, imports of organic products into the EU became subject to a new EU electronic certification system, to reduce potential fraud and provide more comprehensive statistical data on organic imports. As well as the goal of reducing organic food fraud, the addition of import certificates to the existing Trade Control & Expert System facilitates trade by enabling partners and competent authorities to easily obtain information on the movement of their consignments.

Forward-thinking companies, however, look beyond the ‘stick’ of regulation to the ‘carrot’ of consumer trust, and are actively seeking ways to reduce their susceptibility to organic food fraud and protect their brand. They need to account for every part of the production process, which means farming practices, distribution paths, storage procedures and product delivery must all be made visible to business managers.

External traceability is vital to validating the presence of attributes such as organic certification for the entire agro-food sector, which includes animal feeds. This requires all parties in the supply chain to systematically link the physical flow of materials and products with the flow of information about them.

However, many traceability systems today were only designed for internal purposes, providing an one-up, one-down view for the company using that system. Many companies, particularly those that do business with large retailers that impose strict standards, will quickly find themselves outgrowing manual methods or standalone software for batch/lot tracking. At this tipping point, an ERP solution that supports strong batch/lot traceability features becomes a must-have.

A fresh focus on traceability
With traceability-focused software, the product’s batch/lot number follows it from seed to table. By capturing the organic certification data as part of lot tracking, organic status can be tracked through the supply chain. For example, a bottle of certified organic wine should be traceable back to the exact vineyard from which its grapes were harvested.

An organic apple should be able to be traced back to the farm where it was grown, and it should even be possible to pinpoint the exact orchard from which it was picked.

This traceable chain of custody is what empowers consumers to trust certified organic brands. Shoppers are becoming increasingly savvy about what they eat and how it’s raised; wherever there is opportunity for differentiation by helping the consumer understand where their food is coming from, it should bear fruit in the form of customer loyalty based on confidence, not blind faith.

To find out more about how Signum Solutions and SAP Business One can help you achieve end-to-end trace ability to maintain the safety and integrity of your products, speak to one of our industry experts on 01244 676 900

How Blockchain is set to transform food safety and integrity

As consumers, our communication patterns, searches and online habits create a digital trail that means algorithms are getting to know many of us better than we know ourselves. Yet the trust and transparency challenges that confront the globalised food system – such as substitution, tampering, misrepresentation, illegal production and contamination – are still compounded by a lack of supply chain traceability.

The problem is, every company has its own way of working: inaccuracies are caused by traditional paper tracking and manual inspection systems; transactions are handled in siloed databases, resulting in opaque supply chains. When it comes to a recall, this can make the difference between identifying a few contaminated bags of spinach, and pulling the entire stock of spinach from hundreds of stores.

As one of 2017’s most talked-about technologies, Blockchain is being positioned as the way to “provide trust in an untrusted world” by transforming systems of record, with use cases ranging from carbon credits to diamonds. But what is it, how does it work, and how can it be applied to solve food supply chain management challenges?

What is Blockchain and how does it work

Blockchain was developed in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007/8 to deliver transparency, security and efficiency in managing transactions between multiple parties without involving banks. This gave rise to crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin, which can be transmitted worldwide without friction: no intermediaries, regulation or the need to know or trust the parties involved – the so-called “trustless” system.

In the simplest terms, Blockchain is a way to structure data. It uses distributed ledger technology: a database that, rather than being stored in one place, is continuously synchronised and shared among all members of a peer-to-peer network for real-time data transparency.

When a digital transaction is carried out, it is grouped together in a cryptographically-protected block with other transactions that have occurred in the last ten minutes and sent out to the entire network.

Once validated by consensus, the block of transactions is timestamped and permanently added to a chain in chronological order. New blocks are linked to older blocks and contain a reference to the previous block (called a “hash, which is somewhat like a digital fingerprint).

A distributed database cannot be hacked, manipulated or disrupted in the same way as a traditional, centralised database with a user-controlled access system. The data is immutable: once it has been written to a Blockchain, nobody – not even a system administrator – can modify or tamper with it. The technology can work for almost any type of transaction involving value, such as money, goods, land ownership, work, medical information or even votes.

How can Blockchain be applied to the food industry?

Today’s supply chains have an inherent weakness: individual parties are using disparate digital systems, different technologies, and paper-based processes to bridge the gaps. This makes it inefficient to share the critical data that drives supply chain interactions, or to guarantee a high degree of rigour and accuracy.

Blockchain-infused traceability systems could deliver the transparency and trust that has eluded the food industry until now. With immutable data, it has the potential to give growers, suppliers, processors, distributors, retailers, regulators and consumers access to reliable information on the origin and state of food.

Blockchain for agriculture – It will become feasible for farms to create digital records for individual animals to track the lifecycle from farm to fork, using technology such as RFID tags. This enables consumers to read the “digital history” of meat down to the individual animal, including who raised it, how it was raised, what it was fed and who processed it, simply by scanning a QR code on the packaging. As the lynchpin of our food supply, farmers typically have little visibility to the end consumer, and could stand to gain a new voice and new distribution opportunities through participation on Blockchain. There are also exciting possibilities for creating business value with new, previously unattainable data that could be made available through Blockchain, such as how much fertiliser or water was used, as evidence of sustainability assertions.

Blockchain for distributors – Distributors could provide more transparency to processors and buyers in terms of product type, farming practices, harvest data and Fair Trade or similar certifications. With the addition of appropriate sensor technology, valuable information could be provided to actors up the chain, such as the duration of the journey while a product is in transit, or the temperature and humidity of the truck it travels in, to demonstrate that the product is fir for use or sale on arrival.

Blockchain for food processors and producers – As food processors often struggle to validate the origin of their ingredients, Blockchain would enable the validation of information about input products without violating trust be-tween individual entities. For food producers, the nature of Blockchain would mean that any attempt to tamper with a product as it moves through the sup-ply chain could be immediately identified and prevented before it ever reaches a retailer.

Blockchain for retailers – As bricks and mortar stones are faced with in-creasing competition from online food providers such as Amazon, supermarkets often want to provide local produce as a differentiator. With Blockchain providing a web of trust, the information value provided by local farms could be bound to the claims made by grocers. This could effectively create a new model for providing local produce through a national chain, with the evidence of quality, transport and freshness that consumers insist on. Not only can this rich seam of information be used to create a point of sale educational opportunity, but it also bolsters the capacity for a digital recall in the event of a safety issue, such as food-borne illness. In the event that a potentially contaminated product somehow made it onto the shelves, stores could rapidly identify, isolate and remove only the affected items without the need for a costly whole-batch recall.

Blockchain for foodservice – Restaurants have a direct relationship with the ultimate consumer and a growing number are keen to emphasise the quality and sustainability of their food. It could prove a considerable competitive ad-vantage be able to authenticate their menus and justify a premium for local, organic or free range produce.

Blockchain offers many practical solutions to today’s impractical system, and should promote better communication between all parts of the food chain and, just as importantly, between producers and consumers.

Blockchain offers many practical solutions to today’s impractical system and should promote better communication between all parts of the food chain and just importantly, between producers and consumers.

The future is already here

The promise of Blockchain isn’t far-off utopian vision. US agricultural conglomerate, Cargill, has made an early foray into Blockchain, with a pilot through its Honeysuckle White brand. The initiative, launched ahead of 2017’s Thanksgiving celebrations, allowed consumers to trace their individual Thanksgiving turkey from the store where they bought it to the farm that raised it.

Walmart is currently piloting Blockchain technology to trace mangos, in their US stores, and has cut the time it took to provide gate-to-plate traceability to two seconds – a process which used to take weeks. Walmart is also among several companies embracing a new initiative in China focused on food safety and traceability with Blockchain as its technical foundation, following numerous high-profile fake food scandals in the world’s most populous country.

A consortium including Dole, Nestlé and Unilever is working to identify opportunities for the use of Blockchain to improve data integrity and trust between parties in “Big Food”. Meanwhile, technology vendors including IBM and Microsoft are collaborating with GS1, the global business communications standards organisation, to determine how the structure data stored or referenced by Blockchains for shared communications and interoperability through the use of standards.

So while Blockchain may seem like the buzzword of 2017 and will no doubt be the subject of much discussion, it has real potential to be a game-changer for food supply chains, helping the industry to achieve the holy trinity of trust, transparency and traceability.

To understand how Signum Solutions can help in your Blockchain journey, contact info@signum-solutions.co.uk

ProcessForce; Weight-based Recipes

ProcessForce, a process-oriented recipe-based ERP application provides you the flexibility to enter the data in the manner in which makes sense to you and your business.

In industries such as food and beverage, chemicals and life sciences, the raw materials and ingredients being consumed within the recipe or formulation may be based on a percentage of weight values rather than traditional quantity values.

These industries have a requirement, not just to be able to enter a percentage weight into a formulation, but for that formulation to calculate the total ingredient quantities, the total overall percentage and total weight values.

Where standard ERP solutions tend not to allow the input of percentage values when entering quantities in recipes, ProcessForce can also be configured to provide a warning to the user if the total weight is greater than 100% or more than 100% of the recipe size.

recipe management software

Would you like to define and enter your product recipes into your ERP system using % weight values? Does your current ERP solution force you to enter the recipe as basic quantity values, because the system uses a traditional engineering based bill of material format? If so, call us on 01244 676 900 and or complete the form below to discover how SAP Business One along with ProcessForce can solve your business issues.

To request a FREE demonstration with one of the most experienced and well established SAP Business One partners in the UK, please complete the form below.

SAP Business One wins the Software Excellence Award 2017

We are very pleased to announce that SAP Business One has won the Software Excellence Award in the Enterprise Accounting/ERP Category, beating off strong competition from Exact and Pegasus.

The Software Excellence Awards are ran by AccountingWEB and are voted for by end users.

The award ceremony took place last night at The Brewery in London with Rachel Riley of TV’s Countdown presenting the awards. SAP ‘s Paul Martin, SAP Business One Product Specialist and Matt Sinclair, Head of SAP Business One UKI were on hand to collect the award.

SAP Business One is specifically designed for all your small and midsize business needs, with low cost of ownership, this integrated solution will help to successfully manage and grow your business.

You can see the full awards list here

To discover how this award winning software can benefit your business, contact us on 01244 676 900

An interview with Tom Brumwell, Operations Manager at Polyurethane Progress Ltd

Polyurethane Progress Ltd has seen tremendous growth over recent years and has ambitious plans to ensure its place as a market leader within the industrial plastics marketplace.  Find out more about the business and the processes it has put into place to continue its success, from our interview with Operations Manager, Tom Brumwell:

 

Q: Tell us about Polyurethane Progress Ltd

A: Polyurethane Progress Ltd is a family owned company, which has been in the manufacturing industry for almost 30 years. We offer the highest quality in our products with the most advanced designs, material specifications and technical solutions in the manufacturing industry.  Operating from a modern processing facility based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire we are constantly producing high quality polyurethane goods with fast turn round times, operating 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Unlike many of our competitors, Polyurethane Progress Ltd operates a full ‘in-house’ system, which means that none of our products are imported – they are all produced onsite.

 

Q: What is your role within the business?

A: My role is mostly sales based – taking on new enquiries from customers, quotations, order inputting etc. However I also take on other roles too, such as: purchasing, social networking, dabbling in IT support and website projects, to name just a few!

 

Q: What industry does Polyurethane Progress sit within?

A: Polyurethane Progress are specialists in both cast moulding and injection moulding of Polyurethane and other industrial plastics. Our parts serve industries around the globe at opposite sides of the spectrum.  From automotive bush components through to sealing solutions for oil rigs, we can do both mass production and smaller batch production of parts, based on our customers’ needs.

 

Q: What are your products and services?

A: Our products range from seals to bespoke components, we offer both cast and injection moulding and also have our own in house tooling department, which allows us to take on new enquiries and make the required moulds in house; minimising lead times for our customers.

 

Q: How many products do you have?

A: In the region on 12,500.

 

Q: What has the last year been like for you?

A: This last year has seen the company grow at a dramatic rate across the board, allowing us to further expand and future proof our company with a new ERP system – SAP Business One from Signum Solutions.

 

Q: What made you decide to implement a new ERP system?

A: The existing system was disjointed, slow, difficult to use and allowed for too many mistake.  Support was lacking too, with required changes or fixes taking an age to resolve.

 

Q: When is SAP Business One going to be implemented?

A: We are due to begin implementation later this month!

 

Q: What’s different about the new ERP system?

A: The new system will encapsulate all of the inner workings of the company.  Whilst before we had various different procedures in place, some paper-based and others using the old system, everything will now be covered within SAP Business one, which will make it easier for us to operate as a business and easier for our customers to operate with us too.

Also, the solution that we have chosen will be hosted in The Cloud, which means that we are able to save money by not buying, storing and maintaining our own  servers.

 

Q: What are the benefits that you are expecting from implementing SAP Business One?

A: We think the benefits will include: increased productivity, fewer mistakes, ease of use and an increase in profitability by having the ability to highlight areas of concern that we currently may be unable to see, due to the limitations of the existing system.

 

Q: How did you come across Signum Solutions?

A: I was searching for ERP solutions online and found the Signum Solutions website.

 

Q: What made you decide to partner with Signum Solutions for your ERP project?

A: Their experience in dealing with situations similar to our own, where medium sized businesses had outgrown their current ERP system and needed a robust and long-term solution, gave us the confidence they could successfully implement and support our new system.

 

Q: You’re officially Signum’s 50th customer – how does that feel?

A: It’s good to know that we have partnered with a company that has a good level of stability and a customer profile that is well represented by businesses similar to ours. We know that Signum also has 100% customer retention, which is impressive when dealing with 50 different businesses over more than 10 years.

View customer case studies to find out more about how Signum Solutions’ experience within manufacturing and wholesale industries has helped similar businesses achieve streamlined processes and financial benefits, with SAP Business One.